5 Questions To Ask Yourself When Choosing & Installing A Car Seat For Your Child

| September 4, 2019 | 7 Comments

5 Questions To Ask Yourself When Choosing & Installing A Car Seat For Your Child

85% of the car seats that we see are incorrectly installed! In Canada, the law requires that children be properly restrained in an appropriate car seat or booster seat while travelling in a vehicle. Choosing the right car seat for your child and installing it in your vehicle can be a daunting task, so here are 5 questions you can ask yourself.

5 Questions To Ask Yourself When Choosing & Installing A Car Seat For Your Child
Ottawa Safety Council’s BestFit Car Seat Program

1. How do I choose the right car seat?

There is no simple answer to this question. There are over 10 different car seat manufacturers, who each make numerous models of car seats, which are available for purchase in Canada. No one car seat is the perfect seat. The size, height and weight of your child, along with the make and model of your vehicle play a role in determining the most appropriate car seat for you. Children come in all shapes and sizes, so what works for one child may not work well for another.

Always check the height and weight limits of the seat, to make sure it is an appropriate stage seat for your child. If possible, it is always best to “try on” the car seat before purchasing it. This means placing the car seat in your vehicle and harnessing in your child. This will help you to determine whether the seat is a good fit.

2. How much money do I need to spend to keep my child safe?

There is a misconception that the more expensive the car seat, the better it is. This is not the case. All car seats sold in Canada should have passed Transport Canada’s safety testing. This is a pass or fail system. To ensure the car seat has passed this test, please look for the Transport Canada sticker, which you can find on the shell of the seat.

There are several options available for under $100 so there is no need to spend more than that. An inexpensive car seat will still keep your child safe.

3. Are second hand car seats safe?

We highly recommend purchasing a new car seat for your child. Although car seats come with a 10-year expiry date, it does not mean that they can be handed down to someone else. It is highly discouraged to do so as during the time the seat was in the possession of another user, several factors could have come into play. For example: some models of car seats could have had a recall on them due to a defect or could have been involved in a collision which would affect the integrity of the seat. For your child’s safety it is advised to buy a new car seat.

5 Questions To Ask Yourself When Choosing & Installing A Car Seat For Your Child
Car Seat Installation Instructions

4. How do I properly install a car seat?

The moment has come! You have finally zeroed in on the right car seat and now for the install. Do not worry because your best friend is the car seat manual that comes along with the purchase and your vehicle manual. It is strongly advised that you read the car seat manual carefully before installing the seat, as well as the Child Restraint section in your vehicle manual. If you have misplaced your manuals, please contact the manufacturer directly to have it replaced. Downloading the manual often leads to misinformation as manufacturers make changes from year to year or one model to the next and it is difficult to ensure that you are reading the correct version.

Things to consider:

  • Will you use the UAS or seatbelt to install the seat?
  • Where in the vehicle will the car seat fit best?
  • Does the headrest of the vehicle interfere with the installation?
  • Should the seat be rear or forward facing?
  • Are there other children or passengers in the vehicle to consider?

5. When is it safe to switch to a booster seat?

There is no hard and fast rule that determines when your child can move to a booster seat. The government of Ontario states that your child must be a minimum of 40lbs in order to use a booster seat. Please keep in mind that this is a minimum. Many children can ride safely in their car seats until 65lbs. There is no need to rush into a booster seat. Best Practise is to make sure that your child is mature enough to use a booster seat, meaning they must be able to sit up straight for the entire duration of the trip. You also need to ensure that a proper seat belt fit can be obtained. If the seatbelt does not fit your child properly, then he/she will not be protected in the event of a collision.

Who knew that car seats could be so complicated?

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5 Questions To Ask Yourself When Choosing & Installing A Car Seat For Your Child
5 Questions To Ask Yourself When Choosing & Installing A Car Seat For Your Child

The Ottawa Safety Council has developed a program dedicated to helping families and caregivers install their car seats correctly. The Ottawa Safety Council’s BestFit program provides education, resources and custom installs. We are a team of experienced Child Passenger Safety Technicians. We can answer all of your car seat questions, provide peace of mind, and help you find the BestFit for your child.

Feel free to visit our website by clicking here. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter. You can also give us a call at 613-238-1513 x229 or send an email to bestfit@ottawasafetycouncil.ca

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Category: Babies and Toddlers, Family, Tips, Weekly Themes

About the Author ()

Lyne is a Certified Infant Massage Instructor (CIMI), Certified Professional Wedding Consultant, and an Event Planner. It has always been her dream to create a website dedicated just for Moms since her children were young. Thus, after 10 years, she finally accomplished it, and the Ottawa Mommy Club was born in May 2011. She loves all things Disney and is an avid chocoholic. She was also the Queen B of the BConnected Conference, Canada's Digital Influencer and social media Conference in Ottawa and Toronto. She coordinated the Annual Infant Information Day/Early Years Expo for the City of Ottawa for 8 years. She was also the co-chair of the Navan for Kraft Hockeyville 2009-2011 committee that organized five community events within 6 months, and helped Navan reach the top 10 finalists in Canada. In April 2011, she received the City of Ottawa Mayor's City Builder Award.

Comments (7)

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  1. Elizabeth Matthiesen says:

    Installing a child’s car seat properly is vital for it to function as intended. I know that kids want to get out of their car seat and onto a booster asap, however this isn’t a reason to change to a booster seat as you can read above. It’s not just a question of weight nor height there is a lot to consider in order to maintain your child’s safety.

  2. micheline says:

    It is confusing to choose a car seat these days, there is just too many options. It is good that there are programs around like from the Ottawa Safety Council to help with questions we may have.

  3. Calvin says:

    Lots of things to consider.. Safety factors come in to play. I agree, and good overview here on what to research prior to purchasing anything.

  4. Debbie White-Beattie says:

    This all sounds like such an amazing pain in the butt. You have to have an engineering degree to figure it all out.

  5. JoKing says:

    Safety is of the utmost importance!

  6. A lot of information here that I didn’t know. Safety is definitely the most important thing. I wouldn’t feel safe buying second hand when it comes to car seats.

  7. Kristi says:

    I had heard that car seats should not be bought used. It’s too important to know you’re getting a seat that is going to function properly in case of an incident.

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